Mark Ruffalo Enlisting Andy Serkis For Motion-Capture Help On Avengers: Age Of Ultron
The Hulk remains one of the characters in Marvel that they struggle to get right. He presents unique challenges, least of all the physical motion-capture aspect. Mark Ruffalo was your third big-screen Hulk in The Avengers, but he's not exactly a motion-capture veteran. Which is why he's enlisting the big guns for Avengers: Age Of Ultron, and bringing Andy Serkis into the fray.
Ruffalo's been Tweeting and Tumblring quite a bit on the set of Avengers: Age Of Ultron. From Ruffalo's Twitter account, the truth about the new Hulk:
Serkis, as fans definitely recall, is something of a motion-capture wizard. He brought to the forefront an appreciation of motion-capture work with his performance as Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings movies. And he pushed things forward with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, where Serkis was Caesar, the leader of the ape rebellion. If there's anyone you can approach for motion-capture, it's going to be Serkis, who is by now very much used to that black outfit with little white balls delineating movement. Hopefully he'll be graduating to more live-action roles in the new Star Wars, and they won't distract from his specific skillset.
In 2003's Hulk, the still-primitive motion-capture was performed by director Ang Lee. His approach was to create a clumsier, more childlike Hulk, one who didn't know his own strength. By the time Marvel made 2008's The Incredible Hulk, they wanted a more polished hero, and it was Edward Norton working with District B-13 star Cyril Raffaelli to capture the behemoth's now-steroidal physique and attitude. Ruffalo performed the motion-capture solo for The Avengers, finding a happy medium between these two approaches: his Hulk is both powerful and muscular, but not necessarily athletic or spry.
Of course, naysayers continue to protest that some motion capture is ultimately useless, and it is the work of the animators which deserves the most praise. Serkis' work aside, it's easy to believe there are many Hollywood productions that have cast aside entire chunks of unworkable motion capture done by non-professionals: undoubtedly a major A-List star isn't going to have the same skill set as Serkis or Doug Jones, Guillermo Del Toro's motion-capture man of choice. What Ruffalo is doing is finding someone who can assist in maximizing his movements, in learning what plays better to the camera and what aids the technology best. It's very much like a film actor being taught theater acting in a way. Ultimately, it's an entirely new arsenal.
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